Con Artists and the New Testament

by Lisa Graham on January 10, 2012

Last time we talked about the Old Testament and how it became part of our Bible.  As a refresher, the Jewish people (more specifically, Rabbis) limited the Old Testament to books originally written in Hebrew or Aramaic.

So, how did we get our New Testament?   Who decided the books to be included how did they decide?

Let me set the stage for you….Con Artist

Jesus’  life was controversial, He was loved by some and hated by others.  Most people had a strong opinion about Him…even if they did not hear Him preach or see Him in person…they still had an opinion!

When something is controversial, tragic, heroic and/or shocking…. what can we count on happening today?  A book being released about it. Some will claim their book is an autobiography, some a historical account, some an “eye-witness” account and on and on.

This is not new….it was going on almost 2,000 years ago.  People could preach/speak/write about what they saw, heard or experienced with Jesus, true or not.

Con artists wanting to scam money or gain some power could make up stories and go around claiming they were true.   At that time, one person could ride/walk in to a village, speak/preach a few times and move on pretty fast, it could take months or years before the truth reached them.

How many times has Harold Camping proclaimed the end of the world?  How many people sent him money to help “spread the news”?  This happened last year with news traveling lighting fast!  He was still able to gain an audience and millions!

The more things change, the more they stay the same…have you heard that before?

The church leaders realized that they needed to do SOMETHING to solidify what was being preached.

The Catholic (Catholic means universal, there was only one church at the beginning of the Christian movement) church decided to review documents, who wrote them, what they said, if they were in-line with Jesus’ life and teachings, etc. and declare some as acceptable (canon) and others as unacceptable.

There were 1,000′s of documents going around, all proclaiming to be the gospel.

The church leaders looked at all the information and, of course, prayed about it (canon meaning divinely inspired) and came up with our modern day New Testament.  It was completed around 100 AD.

The new testament was written in Greek, the entire thing.

Remember, the old testament had been translated to Greek also.  It is called the Septuagint and was for the Jewish people being forced to “turn Greek”.

The entire Bible was complete, Old and New Testament.  But…what about the Apocrypha books?  What happened to them?  Well, until around the 1880′s most (99%) of Bibles included them, during the 1880′s they were removed from protestant Bibles.

Protestants, Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and Mormons all have different Bibles. I encourage you to research what your denomination says about the apocrypha, talk to a pastor or priest and do some additional research on your own.

As I said in the last blog, the Jewish people left the Apocrypha out of their Old Testament but it was included in the Septuagint.

Later on, we will look at “divinely inspired”.

On Friday we will look at how the Bible was used by some to gain power….and money.


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  • Caroline Gavin

    Lisa, this is wonderful!

    Thank you once again for researching Bible history…and for sharing your findings with us!

    I have long been fascinated by the preservation of Scripture throughout the ages and also by the acceptance (or rejection) of the Apocrypha. You account fascinating history, and your conclusions encourage us to all the more search the Scriptures on our own.

    The verse that comes to mind is Acts 17:11: “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

    May God bless your efforts and your heart for Him!

    • Anonymous

      Thank you Caroline!
      I just love researching the history….sometimes you have to go back to the beginning to get the “whole” story…just like in our own lives. Blessings to you!

      • Caroline Gavin

        You’re most welcome, Lisa!

        So very true! As in many things, it is helpful to go to the beginning. The archaeology of a subject or experience deepens our understanding and appreciation.

        Interestingly enough, the word “archaeology” (with Greek roots “archē” and “lógos”) itself echoes the Gospel of John: “En archē ēn ho Lógos” (“in the beginning was the Word”).

        Thank you for digging and for sharing your discoveries. The archaeology of “ho Lógos,” the Word, is a fascinating one indeed!

        God bless you, sister in Christ!

        • Anonymous

          Oh, did not know that about the word archaeology! Thanks for sharing!!

          • Caroline Gavin

            You’re welcome, Lisa!!! Thank YOU again!
            Such a fascinating series you are sharing, and this interesting etymology of “archeology” seems to relate well with your digging into Scriptural history.
            May God bless you richly, dear sister!!! :)

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